Indoctrinating the New Kid

Happy post-Valentine’s Day and Happy Presidents Day today (if you live in the U.S.)! This post has nothing to do wither either holiday! Enjoy!

valentines day clip art and vectors (3) Presidents-Day-Clip-Art-8

When I was a kid, the older kids in my neighborhood, when they weren’t trying to intimidate us younger kids or extort money from us, would teach us stuff. You know—stuff like Double Dutch rhymes; limericks they’d heard from kids older than them; curse words (in different languages); how to ride a skateboard; how to flirt; how to hold a cigarette and look cool (um smoking is bad for you, kids); how to hit a baseball. You know—stuff they thought was useful. After that, they would go back to ignoring us or telling us to stay out of their clubhouse. (Okay, that last one was just something my older brother would say to me.) We wanted to be like them, so we listened to them.

As I grew older, I taught those younger than me the ways of the world. Ha. I totally did not. I ignored or terrorized younger kids (like my younger brother). I was not an Obi-Wan Kenobi, out there in search of a young padawan to train.


Perhaps that’s why I listened in fascination as Kitty took a young kid under her wing. Even a supervillain can be a mentor.


“What’s your name, kid?” Kitty asked, somehow managing to look menacing even with a cupcake in her hands.

The kid flinched. “Isabelle.”

Kitty nodded. “I’ll call you Mel then.”


Isabelle frowned. Or at least that was her intent. But try as she would, she couldn’t change the cheerful expression on her molded plastic face. “Mel? But that’s not my na—”

“Mel it is. And you don’t have to raise your hand to ask a question, Mel.”

“I can’t lower it. I was made this way. Just like you were made to hold that cupcake, right?”


Kitty conceded the point, then cleared her throat and assumed a lecturing attitude. “Mel, to succeed in what I do, getting others to do your bidding must be as comfortable to you as this chair looks.”

Comfy Chair

“Is that the Shopkins Comfy Chair? I love collecting Shopkins.” Isabelle reached for the Comfy Chair. “I don’t think I have this one.”

Kitty held out her cupcake like a judge holding out a gavel. “Don’t touch that. I’m using it to make a point. . . . As I was saying, as any successful entrepreneur would tell you, bending others to your will is what’s necessary for the good of the world. And what the world needs is the firm hand of a true leader. That’s why I demand yearly tributes from the leaders of all nations. . . . Um, you should be writing this down, Mel.”

Isabelle nodded, but I was skeptical of her ability to write anything well, since she had that one-hand-raised issue. But Kitty did not press the issue. Though I was curious as to what point(s) Kitty planned to make when she pulled these out . . .

More Shopkins

. . . I moved on at that point. But I had to admire her technique for imparting her wisdom. It was certainly different from that used by the kids in my old neighborhood.

Judging by the look on Kitty’s face while listening to Isabelle’s squeals of delight as Kitty set the above items on the table, I was certain Kitty had the same thought in her head as did I: Isabelle would never make it as a career criminal.

Sometimes imparting your wisdom is all you’re called to do for a person younger in age or someone less senior in your chosen career. The wise person, however, knows when to give advice and when to hold back.

When have you been the new kid? How did someone older or in a senior position help you?

Valentine hearts from Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi found at Presidents Day image from

51 thoughts on “Indoctrinating the New Kid

  1. I recall some advice given to me when I first became a postman, but I couldn’t possibly repeat it here! 🙂
    Shopkins: one day one of the mum’s at the school told me that her daughter had come home and said “Mum, we’ve just got to do something about Millie. She hasn’t got a single Shopkins, and it’s absolutely devastating!” Apparently all the kids were concerned and sympathising with her. Well, one morning we dropped her off at school, telling her we were going into the local town to pick her up a, erm, Shopkins kitchen, or something. So she spent the day informing all of her classmates. At home time the whole bunch of kids came out excited, but we had to inform her that we had drew a blank: every SINGLE shop had sold out of every SINGLE Shopkins item.
    They all needed counselling.

    • Oh Andy, that story made me laugh! I can picture the kids commiserating with Millie. The stores around here continually sell out of Shopkins. I went to the same store two days in a row and found an abundance one day and barely any the next day. A little girl at church told me she only had one Shopkin. And she had a sad look on her face. So I slipped her a few of the ones I had.

  2. Keep thinking about being the new person at work or starting a new grade of school. I can’t imagine anyone who hasn’t been the ‘new kid’ at some point in their life. Some times you might not even realize it because ego gets in the way. Basically, the kid who thinks he/she knows everything and doesn’t have to listen, which inevitably backfires at some point. That or they become management if it’s a workplace environment. The thing about being the wise one in the scenario is you’re only effective if the new kid is willing to listen. If they don’t then you can wisely stay out of whatever mess they’re about to cause.

    • Good point, Charles. I’ve run across many “new kids” who felt they knew more than the older ones. I was assigned a person to mentor some years ago. When I asked her if she had any questions, she told me she didn’t need a mentor and refused to communicate with me. I was so stunned by her response that for a while there, I was reticent to mentor anyone.

      • I wouldn’t blame you. A friend of mine is having to train someone at work who thinks that way. Just makes more work and headaches for him. Those types of people end up going one of two ways if they don’t realize they’re inexperienced. Either they’re booted or become managers. 🙂

      • Ha ha! Yes, I’ve seen people go the managerial route. That was usually due to nepotism. And when they angered the employees in their division, they were eventually promoted even higher. The Peter Principle at work!

      • From Wikipedia: The Peter principle is a concept in management theory formulated by Laurence J. Peter in which the selection of a candidate for a position is based on the candidate’s performance in their current role, rather than on abilities relevant to the intended role. Thus, employees only stop being promoted once they can no longer perform effectively, and “managers rise to the level of their incompetence.”

      • I think I get it. Managers might have an easier time proving effectiveness depending on the standards put upon them. I think. Head cold is making this tough to figure out.

      • Hope you feel better!
        I like the line about managers rising to the level of their incompetence. That used to give some coworkers and I a chuckle, even as we complained.

      • It is, especially if the temperature is low. Though yesterday while I was grumbling about the snow on the roads and the steady snowfall, I glimpsed a kid on the swings, grinning happily. He was so thrilled!

  3. During and after college, I worked for the same company for twenty years, then I moved out of state. I was the new kid several times until I found my current job where I plan to stay. When you’re shy, it’s no fun being the new kid.

    • I know what you mean, Jill. It’s no fun being the new kid. But it’s nice when someone has compassion and takes us under his or her wing. That’s why I’m glad the seasoned Harlequin writers have welcomed you into the fold so nicely!

  4. Sigh. Basically, as I shy person, I feel I am perpetually the new kid, though if I am the first person in the room, it gives me a feeling of “power”. 🙂

    I was running in a local election (yes, shy people do these things if they have a passion for making things right). I was feeling very much the fish out of water right before a caucus that was to be televised. A well known elected official in another office came toward me. He was a formidable figure who was once a priest and his wife was once in the position I was seeking. Sure I was about to be toast, I managed to proffer a hand, which he took, held it, looked me right in the eyes and said “I like what you are saying. When you get on the stage, don’t look at the audience, they already know who they are voting for. Find the camera and look at it.” I did. I won.

  5. Medical training requires you’re often the new kid–a new rotation every month during the clinical years in med school as well as residency. But you’re often the mentor too as you return to rotations as the senior team member. So you learn to be both a mentor and a mentee–skills useful in the real world too. 🙂

    • Very useful, Carrie.
      A friend who completed her DPT has a steady stream of interns working with her. So she’s usually working with new kids.
      As an editor, I’ve had to mentor new writers, some of whom balk at the process.

  6. I got a kick out of this post, Linda.
    Kitty, like most cats, is tres bossy!

    Being a mentor can be rewarding or draining . . . the best part is being able to assign nicknames like “Mel” to mentees like Isabelle. :mrgreen:

    • Thanks, Nancy. Yes, Kitty is typical. I’ve had supervisors like that. At least they weren’t as annoying as Michael Scott was on The Office. 😀
      Yes, the mentoring process has its ups and downs, especially when the ego gets involved.

  7. Yeay a Kitty Story! Thanks, cyber-buddy! 😉

    I’ll add a different slant here by saying, no matter if you’re the new kid or the mentor, one should always maintain and nurture a ‘teachable’ spirit; an eagerness to learn and share those new discoveries with others.

    BTW: I was wondering, is that a cupcake toilet?

    • Laura, good point about having a teachable spirit. Iron sharpens iron.
      You do realize that I wrote this post with you in mind? I remembered you requested it, so yay.

      The toilet is actually a tiny one-inch plastic Shopkin called Flushes. 😀 Now that I think about it, it would make a lovely cupcake.

      • Well, maybe Flushes is Kitty’s cupcake as a transformer???? HA!
        Yes, I secretly hoped the story was due to my request…thanks a bunch. And see, lots of other commenters liked the Kitty story, too. 😎

  8. I’m a natural giver and love seeing people take my advice and prosper. Having said that, I’ve also been the victim of more than my share of takers, people who drain me of whatever I have to offer and run. While it’s made me more selective, I still give to others, because I believe every scintilla of good energy sent out in the world comes back.

  9. I’m getting advice from someone younger than I am. (I’m apparently older than her mother, which is really scary.) However, she’s a rising star of picture books and I’m trying to learn enough to produce one that won’t get me laughed at if I submit it.

  10. Haha! Loved the story – how annoying to always have to hold one arm above your head! Well, as the youngest of four I spent my formative years having “wisdom” imparted to me. I think the stand-out was when my sister persuaded me that my sponge would turn into a lion if it dried out…

  11. We moved to town when I was in fifth grade. Luckily I already knew one girl in my class. (Our parents were friends.) At recess, she introduced me to her friends, and from then on, I was part of their group. My adjustment to my new town and new school was about as painless as you can get.

    On the other hand, my first year of teaching was in a small school, one teacher per grade. When we gathered in the teachers’ lounge, I felt like I had to drag every bit of advice out of them. No one was interested in being a mentor. I don’t know. Were they bored with teaching by then, or did they have enough on their hands? The principal never visited my classroom. I guess that meant he trusted me, but I would have appreciated some help. The only help I remember was from the janitor. After a kid threw up in the classroom, he quickly and efficiently cleaned it up. I was so grateful, I think I cried a little bit.

    • Wow. That was a hard situation. I’m sorry you weren’t mentored at that crucial time. I’m glad the janitor at least was helpful.

      So glad that girl was kind to you. Fifth grade is such a difficult grade. Kids can be so mean. I’m glad she wasn’t.

  12. Aaah, Kitty. I sympathize. I don’t think any of my children are fit to be evil geniuses either. Well… the youngest probably could be, but her siblings coddle her like crazy. *sigh* There’s no hope of me ever counter-brainwashing her enough to fix the coddling.

    • Don’t worry. Middle school and high school will fix that eventually. 🙂
      Having an older brother helped me develop my plans for taking over the world. I owe everything to him.

  13. Pingback: Kitty Returns—My 400+ Post | El Space–The Blog of L. Marie

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